Live from Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir! Mar 5th
Date: March 5, 2008
Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.13.12
Speaker: HG Praghosa Dasa
By Ananda Tirtha (das) PVS (Mayapur – IN)
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param susrusanam mahyam syat praja-raksaya nrpa bhagavams te praja-bhartur hrsikeso ‘nutusyati
TRANSLATION: O King, if you can give proper protection to the living beings in the material world, that will be the best service for me. When the Supreme Lord sees you to be a good protector of the conditioned souls, certainly the master of the senses will be very pleased with you.
PURPORT: The whole administrative system is arranged for the purpose of going back home, back to Godhead. Brahma is the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Manu is the representative of Brahma. Similarly, all other kings on different planets of the universe are representatives of Manu. The lawbook for the entire human society is the Manu-samhita, which directs all activities towards the transcendental service of the Lord. Every king, therefore, must know that his responsibility in administration is not merely to exact taxes from the citizens but to see personally that the citizens under him are being trained in Visnu worship. Everyone must be educated in Visnu worship and engaged in the devotional service of Hrsikesa, the owner of the senses. The conditioned souls are meant not to satisfy their material senses but to satisfy the senses of Hrsikesa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the purpose of the complete administrative system. One who knows this secret, as disclosed here in the version of Brahma, is the perfect administrative head. One who does not know this is a show-bottle administrator. By training the citizens in the devotional service of the Lord, the head of a state can be free in his responsibility, otherwise he will fail in the onerous duty entrusted to him and thus be punishable by the supreme authority. There is no other alternative in the discharge of administrative duty.
Praghosa Das: Firstly I have to make a comment that I feel right now that I am suffering from the Romaharsana-suta complex. Sitting here in front of all these exalted Vaisnavas, I am just hoping that nobody has brought in a piece of kusa grass. I will humbly speak in front of all of you and try to be humble in speaking.
So it is an interesting verse and purport dealing with administration. For the last few weeks here in Mayapur, the GBC body have also been trying to deal with administration, and trying to get it right. Here in the purport Prabhupada is making it very clear that is very important that we get it right because if we don’t get it right, we fail in our onerous duty. Srila Prabhupada, although English is not his first language, has a wonderful ability to choose the right word on every occasion. Another word that comes to mind that Prabhupada used many, many times in different purports, he would say “the stringent laws of material nature.” For those who English is their first language, they will know that the word stringent means there is no flexibility. There is no give. It is absolutely rigid like the steel cables that hold bridges together. In the same way, onerous, it is a very strong word in the English language, a very onerous responsibility, a very heavy responsibility, a very serious responsibility, a very grave responsibility, and if you don’t get it right, you’re in trouble.
Prabhupada says in another purport that the head of state has to accept, I think, one-sixth of the karma of the citizens. So if you’re the head of state of India, there are one billion people, thereabouts. If we have some mathematicians in the room, you take one-sixth of one billion. Well, one-fifth is two hundred million. There are probably more than one billion in India, so we can roughly say that if you are the head of state of India, you have to accept the karma of two hundred million people. That is a pretty onerous responsibility.
It is very important that we get it right. We are given the blueprint, the framework, the model, the strategy, everything is given. Krsna tells in Bhagavad-gita:
catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah
That he has actually created the perfect administrative set-up, the four varnas and the four asramas. So that has been created by Krsna. One devotee said to me recently, because often times when we are discussing this subject of varnasrama, it is like another onerous responsibility to even discuss it, what to speak of try to implement it. So one devotee said to me, “Yes, but the Hare Krsna movement, what is the first item of devotional service that you require in order to progress in devotional life? The first item is sraddha, faith.” So this devotee said to me, “Faith is very important in a devotee’s life and a very essential part of the Hare Krsna movement. There is no place for atheism in the Hare Krsna movement.” It would be quite funny if we had atheistic devotees. [Laughter] A real kind of rasabhasa.
So Krsna tells us that the four orders of varna and asrama are the perfect administrative system, so therefore, we should with faith try to implement the system that Krsna has given us. Sometimes devotees refer to the conversation between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya. When Ramananda Raya mentions varnasrama as being something to work on, so to speak, Lord Caitanya more or less dismisses it.
Of course, we are trying to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, hari-tosanam, we also learn from Bhagavatam ahaituky apratihata, that our devotional service should be unmotivated and uninterrupted. Certainly speaking for myself, I cannot say that my devotional service is unmotivated and uninterrupted, therefore, dismissing varnasrama at this point in my devotional life is maybe not such a good idea. Srila Prabhupada also tells us towards the latter days of his manifest pastimes that “Fifty percent of my work is done. Now I want you to organize and manifest the other fifty perfect of my work.”
It would seem we have many challenges in our individual lives as devotees and also many challenges as the Hare Krsna movement. The Hare Krsna movement, Srila Prabhupada, when he created it, his intention was it was going to be the ideal movement and the ideal society to show the greater society how to live their lives. It is not that we have been free of difficulties and problems. Of course Prabhupada would tell us the saying that failure is the pillar of success. So we have to identify what is the right way to move forward and maintain enthusiasm and conviction to implement varnasrama in our society so that we can create as perfect a Hare Krsna movement as we can and use that as example to show the outside world.
In one way or another, we are all leaders. We are all simultaneously leaders and we are all followers, too. We have been brought to Lord Caitanya’s movement. Therefore, we have a responsibility to achieve what is being requested here by Srila Prabhupada.
Also, though that is on a society level, we have to try to do that. It is an interesting kind of dynamic between the leaders having to take responsibility, protect the citizens, care for the citizens, make the citizens happy. There is one purport where Srila Prabhupada says if the citizens are not happy in any given state, then it’s the leader’s fault if there is any unhappiness. Again, it is an onerous responsibility. At the same time, for us as individuals, there is an interesting dynamic that we cannot blame everything on leaders. It is not that anything we do in our individual lives, if we do any nonsense, or something that is out to lunch, that we can just say, “Oh well, it is not my fault. It was the leaders’. I was not happy, and therefore, I was forced to do this. It is the leaders’ responsibility.”
There is this verse also in the Third Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, karmana daiva-netrena, where it is being explained that a combination of our own activities as living entities and then under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that is what shapes where we are going in our next life.
Actually, that particular section of Srimad-Bhagavatam, just from the point of not doing the right thing both as individuals and leaders, deals with the hellish planets and what is in store for us. It describes about the Yamadutas and their assistants and their dogs. I was reading it recently and thinking, again related to this verse and purport, because this verse is talking about the ideal society and what we get if you have the perfect leader. You have everybody offering devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It becomes the perfect society.
Everyone is in ecstasy. Everyone is in bliss because everybody is understanding bhoktaram yajna- tapasam, that Krsna is the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer, the supreme friend, he is the supreme of everything. Therefore, if we serve him, our lives become perfect. There is no suffering anymore. Even if in this material realm, we are effectively in the spiritual world and our lives become completely perfect.
But if we toss a coin and the coin lands on the other side and we have a society where this is not happening, where people are not performing devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then what do we get? So when I was reading this section about karmana daiva-netrena and what happens when you go to the hellish planets, it is so awful, it is so hellish, it is so frightening, nearly as frightening as sitting here in front of all of you. It is so heavy what is described that it really shocks you in into thinking, “Boy, I’ve got to get more serious in my Krsna consciousness.”
Look at our society. I live in a Western European city. Although from a fasade point of view, things look quite well, cities are kept quite clean, there is reasonable order, there is a judicial system, police force to protect you, etc, but under the surface, there is so much that is close to the hellish planets. I read an article recently, I can’t remember the figure, but an absolutely astonishing figure of something in the region of half a billion abortions are carried out every year worldwide. In the Vedic culture we understand there are certain sections of society that should be protected, children, what to speak of the unborn children who are even more vulnerable, absolutely incredible. Children, animals, cows in particular, old people, disabled people, women, etc, all of these people should be protected.
Who should they be protected by? This is the most interesting thing vis-m-vis modern society. They should be protected by young adult males, roughly from the age of fifteen to maybe the age of thirty- five, forty, when young adult males are in their prime and they are strong and they’ve got lots of energy and they can actually protect society.
You flip to Western society now, the city I come from, sometimes if I’m wandering around it, oftentimes you will see young adult males wandering the streets. They give nothing but a vibration of fear, intimidation. They scare the living daylights out of people. Oftentimes they are accompanied by these horrendous dogs, these crosses of pit bull terriers with Alsatians crossed with a Doberman pinscher crossed with a something else and these dogs are like straining at the leash and mucus is falling from their face. They are just waiting to pounce on somebody. And actually, the faces of their owners aren’t much better. They look quite similar. [Laughter]
So it is these adult males that are supposed to be protecting society. Yet, the very society, the government of the society, here we read in the purport Prabhupada is making clear what the government of society should do. That very government is allowing these young adult males to roam the streets and freak and frighten and scare people to death like that.
That is the flip side of the coin and that is what we have right now, particularly in Western society. I’m sure it is also prevalent in other societies, but particularly in Western society. So this is the responsibility that we all have. We have this responsibility to somehow or other implement an administrative structure in our society where it is working really well. We as devotees, within our society, should be ever vigilant against any form of abuse or intimidation that any devotee, even subtly is inflicting on any other honorable Vaisnava. It is a really key part of our responsibility as devotees to be caring, loving, and protecting to all the devotees that we are connected to. As a society, we have to try to implement.
Lord Brahma is glorifying Svayambhuva Manu here. He is glorifying as a really good son because he is following his instructions and he is going to try to create this ideal society where people can flourish and are free to perform devotional service so that they can achieve the ultimate goal of life.
He also, though, was disappointed with some of his other sons, the four Kumaras, when they refused to do exactly the same thing. Again, as a parallel to our society, we can refuse to be administrators. We can refuse to do that, but if we refuse to be administrators and protectors, we have to become brahmanas, first class brahmanas and Vaisnavas so that we can advise and instruct the society we are in. That is perfect, too.
That verse also from Bhagavatam, devarsi bhutapta nrnam pirtrnam, that you can give up your material obligations and anything you are expected or so-called required to do if by giving it up you dedicate your life exclusively to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So that’s OK.
Of course when that actually happened, when the four Kumaras declined Brahma’s offer to procreate, fill up the universe, and whatever else, Lord Brahma became really angry, really, really angry. And that is also interesting because anger, just like we are talking about protection and not intimidating people and not abusing people, taking advantage of people, particularly devotees, but everybody actually, every living entity, in order to achieve that, we have to really have our anger under control.
It is such an important thing to control our anger. In this case, Lord Brahma didn’t do that and what happened? What happened was Rudra manifested from Lord Brahma’s anger. He is described as being red and blue. He came out red and blue, modes of passion and ignorance. The anger of Brahma was so intense that the personality of Rudra manifested and then he just traveled all over the world and he was destroying everything. Anger is carried through the bloodstream. When you lose control, when you actually, I’m sure, hands up in the room, any devotee since the time they were born to where they are now, so the younger ones have an advantage here, hands up anyone who has never become angry. You’re all very honest. [Laughter]
Anger is carried though the bloodstream. I don’t know the exact process, but I would imagine once you tip the balance and fifty-one percent of your bloodstream has lost the battle with anger, you actually can lose control. We can see in this case, Rudra just traveled all over the universe destroying everything in his way. Lord Brahma had to get after him and sort it out. It was a big challenge for Lord Brahma to stop what was going on.
In the same way, again in non-devotee society, particularly Western society, when people lose control, all sorts of hellish things happen. They kill people for nothing. Old people get killed because someone simply wants to take ten dollars from them. They kill them just like that. People out of control. This control of anger, kama esa krodha esa, controlling the anger, controlling the senses is such an important aspect of our devotional life. We need to be in control of our senses, in control of anger in order for us to become good brahmanas, good ksatriyas, good vaisyas, and good sudras. We actually need to be in control of these things again, in order to set the example for greater society.
The goal, of course, hari-tosanam, is to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the actually goal. That verse I quoted earlier, bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram, in the translation and purport of that verse, it is described that if you accept that Krsna is the supreme proprietor, the supreme controller, the supreme enjoyer, if you are accepting that. We’re talking about Lord Brahma. Let’ analyze it. Let’s consider Lord Brahma for a few moments. If I’m wrong, you have to correct me, but twelve hours of Lord Brahma’s life is four billion, three hundred million years of our life. Therefore his whole lifetime is three hundred and eleven trillion, forty billion years. We can kind of forget about the forty billion years because he’s got three hundred and eleven trillion. Can we conceive of three hundred and eleven trillion years?
I can remember as a little boy, when I was thirteen, fourteen, lying in my room at night when I couldn’t sleep for whatever reason, I remember trying to understand the concept of eternity. First off, I completely forgot about trying to figure out that eternity has no beginning. I decided that actually, that was too far out, so let’s deal with the other half of eternity, that it has no end. So then I was trying to calculate, “I’m thirteen years of age.” At that time, we were talking about the millennium because the year two thousand was a few decades away. I remember working out that I’ll be thirty-eight years of age in the year two thousand. I remember thinking, “Boy I’ll be thirty-eight years of age. I’m only thirteen now. That is just eons away. That is so far away in to the future,” I was thinking of whatever that is, seventeen, eighteen years into the future.
Three hundred and eleven trillion and forty billion years, that is Lord Brahma’s lifespan. And who is Lord Brahma? Lord Brahma simply comes from the lotus stem Garbhodakasayi Visnu. There are unlimited Garbhodakasayi Visnus who come from the pores of Mahavisnu to go to all the different universes. Mahavisnu is but a partial expansion, just a partial expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
This Supreme Personality of Godhead, wow, what a person this person is! His position, his qualities, his eternality, everything about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So Krsna says in that translation, 5.20, that if you accept I am the supreme proprietor, the supreme controller, the supreme enjoyer, you will engage, and there is another sister verse actually, which is:
etam vibhutim yogam ca mama yo vetti tattvatah
so ‘vikalpena yogena yujyate natra samsayah
“If you accept,” Krsna is speaking, “this mystic power and opulence of mine, you will engage in unalloyed devotional service. Of this there is no doubt.”
How many of us are engaging in unalloyed devotional service? Unalloyed, another one of these words Prabhupada uses, I think it got it from the side of an reticulated lorry or something, unalloyed steel, but unalloyed means pure, basically, there is nothing mixed in, nothing contaminating it. So how many of us are engaging in unalloyed devotional service? If we are not engaging in unalloyed devotional service, the flip side of that, or the logical conclusion is that we do not accept Krsna’s mystic power and opulence. We do not accept that he is the supreme proprietor and supreme enjoyer and the supreme enjoyer. We do not fully accept that. Because if we fully accept it, he is telling us we would be engaged in unalloyed devotional service.
From that we can conclude that we have much work to do in our devotional life. We have to continually try to convince ourselves of our position vis-m-vis the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, how great is God and how vulnerable is actually another good word, vulnerable. Prabhupada uses the word insignificant a lot, so vulnerable, precarious position in this material world if we are not taking shelter of Krsna’s lotus feet.
In the 1970’s there was as dictator, I’m sure we have some South American devotees sitting here today, there was a dictator in a country called Chile. His name was Augusto Pinochet. It is alleged – we have to be politically correct in 2008 society just in case he was set up, but it is alleged that, like most dictators, he wasn’t worse than most. Of course we have Joseph Stalin in Russia (I’m sure have a lot of Russian devotees here today), who allegedly killed thirty-five million people in order for him to retain his power base. Thirty-five million people he killed because he wanted to be the controller. He was pretty bad.
In that sense, our dear Adolph Hitler was like just a little puppy. He only killed six million. I don’t know how many Augusto Pinchot killed, but I just want to talk briefly about how he killed them, the so-called people he thought were a threat to him. What he would do is he would fly them out in big aircraft carriers, these big airplanes that can hold tanks and stuff, massive things. He would put thousands of people into these airplanes and he would fly them out over either the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. When the plane was in the middle of nowhere, the doors would open and all of these people would be pushed out. They would simply be falling to their death. When they were falling to their death, you can be sure that their minds became focused. The atheists certainly became theists. And the theists certainly became at least kanistha adhikaris, I don’t know. They would have been praying to God, “Please forgive me for all my sins. Please protect me. Please look after me.” The mind is suddenly becoming focused because they are falling very quickly and very soon to their deaths. I don’t know, usually twenty two thousand feet, so probably takes ten minutes, I’m not sure. It’s something like that.
Actually, every single one of us in the material world has been pushed out of that airplane. We are now falling out of that airplane and it is just a matter of minutes or hours, whatever it is, that we are just going to go “fsssshhhh. . . splat”. That is our situation. We are falling out of the airplane.
However, while we are falling out of the airplane, we have tendency, when we meet up with someone on the way down, to start a conversation something along the lines of, “Ah, how are you today? [Laughter] How are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling pretty good, actually, [Laughter] I just bought a lotto ticket and I won like five hundred dollars. Personally I’m in good spirits. My daughter just got married. Seems like a nice boy she got married to, so I don’t have any more family responsibilities. I’m going on a long holiday with my wife to the Seychelles as soon as I land.” [Laughter]
We have all these conversations every day of the week, but actually, we are falling from the airplane just about to go “splat”. We saw in the play the other night, Queen Kunti prays to Lord Krsna vipadah santu tah sasvat, that please let these calamities come again and again and again and again and again and again to remind of the precarious situation I am in in this material world and don’t let me, for whatever reason, be distracted from what the real goal of life is. And the real goal of life is to forever be performing devotional service.
In this age we know that the easiest way, visiting here to Mayapur is so wonderful. You just never stop hearing the Holy Names, except right now when I’m talking, so I apologize for that. Nearly all day long from four o’clock in the morning in the Samadhi, then the morning program here, and then all day long, you hear devotees chanting or kirtan going on or the harinama at three o’clock. And right up to, actually, quite late at night when you’re trying to take rest, there is still kirtan going on somewhere. It is so glorious that we are constantly hearing the Holy Name. The chanting of the Holy Name of Krsna, again, we have to have faith that this is the best way for us to overcome all our anarthas, for us to become free of all these anger, lust, all these different bad qualities, and to be able to eventually reach the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Mahamantra is not from the material world. It descends from the spiritual world. It comes in, it enters our ear when we are chanting. From ear it goes directly to our heart. From our heart, it immediately starts cleaning the heart of all these unwanted anarthas that we have.
And the amazing thing is that this chanting and focus on the Holy Name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is consistent throughout every religion of the world. In the Bible we are told that from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun, one should call on the names of God. In the Quran we are told that of all names, the names of God is the best and one should call on them to be saved. Of course in our tradition there are unlimited reference to the Holy Name, not least:
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
That in this age of Kali the only means of salvation is to call, chant, meditate on the names of God.
Hare Krsna. Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki jai![Applause]